By Mike Linn
A couple of Portales residents have volunteered to install more than 100 smoke detectors in the residences of senior citizens, dedicating time and energy to a recent campaign spearheaded by officials at the Portales Fire Department.
Carl Wilson, a volunteer with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), has installed about 84 detectors, and Mike Garcia has installed 34 in an effort to earn a badge to enhance his Eagle Scout resume.
Portales Fire Marshall Mike Running said the two have been invaluable assets to the community.
“My plan is to recognize this guy (Wilson) for all the work he’s done,” Running said.
Running, who himself has installed about 20 detectors, said First Alert donated about 200 smoke detectors and senior citizens needing the detectors can call the fire department and get added to a list.
Running said Garcia is moving to Japan this week and was unaware how he could be reached.
Wilson said he’s installing the detectors in an effort to pay back the Portales community.
“I felt there was a lot of people in the community who didn’t have the detectors but needed them,” Wilson said. “I feel Portales has been good to me … and this is a way of repaying the community for what they’ve given to me.”
Wilson, a retired farm aid and former employee with the city’s street department, said his wife Martha Wilson helped him install several of the detectors.
“Carl gives 100 percent plus,” said Vonnie Banther, director of RSVP in Roosevelt County. “There’s really nothing that we ask him to do that he doesn’t do for us.”
Banther said senior citizens sign up to have smoke alarms installed or to have existing alarms tested. Wilson then calls the seniors on the list to set up appointments.
The smoke alarms are installed at no charge as part of the fire department’s Senior Fire Safety Campaign.
Wilson is also a volunteer with a literacy program at Portales schools.